U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20649 / July 18, 2008
United States Of America vs. Randall T. Treadwell, Ricky D. Sluder, Larry C. Saturday, and Arnulfo M. Acosta, United States District Court, Southern District of California, Case No. 05 CR 1570 W
Three Defendants Named in SEC Action Found Guilty by a Federal JuryThe Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on June 17, 2008, a federal jury in San Diego, California, convicted three defendants named in a prior enforcement action brought by the Commission for their participation in a fraudulent scheme to solicit money from the public, ostensibly for participation in high-yield "prime bank" trading programs and venture capital investments. The jury found Randall T. Treadwell, formerly of Savannah, Georgia, Ricky D. Sluder of Whitehouse, Texas, and Larry C. Saturday of Savannah, Georgia, guilty on felony counts of wire fraud and conspiracy. A fourth defendant, Arnulfo M. Acosta of Hidalgo County, Texas, pleaded guilty prior to trial to felony counts of conspiracy and making a false statement to a federal officer. Treadwell and Sluder are scheduled to be sentenced on September 22, 2008, and Acosta and Saturday on October 14, 2008.
The defendants were indicted in September 2005 by a federal grand jury in San Diego charging them with wire fraud and conspiracy. According to the indictment obtained by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California, the defendants, though Learn Waterhouse, Inc., a Texas corporation, Wealth Builders Club, Inc., and Qwest International, Inc., both Nevada corporations, fraudulently solicited over $50 million from investors. The indictment alleged that the defendants induced investors by falsely representing and causing others to represent that investors' money would be used for investments that would generate high yielding monthly returns. The indictment alleged that only a small fraction of the money raised was used to make investments and they generated almost no returns, money received from new investors was used to make payments to earlier investors, and millions of investors' funds were used for the defendants' own personal use.
In October 2004, the Commission filed a civil complaint against the defendants and Learn Waterhouse. The court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting future violations of the antifraud and the securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws, freezing the defendants' assets, and appointing Thomas Lennon as the permanent receiver over Learn Waterhouse. The court thereafter issued orders finding Treadwell in civil contempt for violating the asset freeze and ultimately revoked his pretrial release pending the trial in the criminal action. The court also issued an order staying the Commission's action until the conclusion of the criminal action, which also provided that the receiver shall continue to perform all of his duties, however, the receiver cannot pay any investor claims until the stay is lifted or expires.
For more information about prime bank frauds, visit the SEC's "Prime Bank Information Center" at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/enforce/primebank.shtml. To report suspicious activity involving possible fraud, visit http://www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml. The website for Thomas Lennon, the receiver appointed in the case, is www.tflinc.com.
For further information, see Litigation Release Nos. 18932 (October 14, 2004), 18959 (November 4, 2004), 19059 (February 1, 2005), 19142 (March 17, 2005), 19384 (September 20, 2005), 19412 (October 4, 2005), 19461 (November 9, 2005), and 19540 (January 24, 2006).